Compression Ignition Addict
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
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Emissions Testing Information (LONG)
I want to preface this post with some details about why I have sought after this information. I am new to trucks and even more so with diesels. I live in an emissions testing county and am a police officer. I want my future truck to be in compliance with my local laws and found so much conflicting information about what would pass testing and what would not pass. After reading thread after thread on the subject I thought it would be prudent to call the source, my county health department who oversees emission testing and compliance. They were very helpful and I would encourage everyone who has further questions on this issue to contact their local authority to get them answered from the source.
I explained that I wanted to understand diesel emission testing procedures better and asked for an explanation about what was required and how the testing was administered.
I was told that all trucks in my area that are 1998 MY and newer receive two tests, an OBD test and a visual inspection. On the OBD test they look for your standard codes including a check engine light warning. If the OBD throws a code it is subject to failure but pending codes are okay. ( I honestly don't know what pending codes are, you guys probably do though.)
On the visual inspection the tech is supposed to verify that all of the original equipment is on the truck to include the cat/egr/dpf etc. During the visual inspection the tech is supposed to look for tuners which are technically considered tampering and would be a cause for failure but as of now if the tuners are disconnected at the time of testing they don't really enforce that much.
I asked about whether a sniff test is required or when one would be required and was told that if the truck is over 14k lbs then the opacity is needed.
We talked for a while about doing modifications to the stock equipment and doing deletes. The guy was really up front with me about the fact that it is hard to catch a lot of things that are modified on these trucks due to techs being diligent during the testing. He said that on 2008 and newer trucks the OBD monitoring is much better and often there are monitors of all of the exhaust components. Obviously if you just those components off you will throw codes and then in return will fail your testing. He commented on how a lot of the new tuners are able to adjust what the output shows when do delete a stock component. Like showing a "ready" on the egr when it has been deleted rather than throwing a code. He said that good diesel techs know what to look for and at what stage the monitors output should be and will be able to fail the truck for those altered outputs but again he said that is really hard to catch when the techs are trying to get through these tests quickly.
It sounded like it is going to be much harder to do the big mods to these trucks in the future due to the monitoring that is allowed with the OBD sensors.
He said that the mechanic shops that do work on the trucks are the places that do the best testing as far as the county is concerned due to the fact that if you fail then they might be able to get some work out of the testing. I don't know how many of the major mod shops are doing this testing but maybe this is more akin to the dealers or other normal diesel repair shops.
I have been looking pretty heavy at '06 to '08 F250's and was really on the fence about them. I guess now I feel like I am leaning towards the 6.0 for the emissions aspect only. I think it would be great to get an '08 and do the deletes that are so prevalent here but again I want to be compliant with my local regulations.
Anyway, I know that this is super long but I wanted to pass along the details that I have spent so much time looking for on to others that may be in my same situation. Again, I would encourage anyone to contact the agency in their area about what or how testing is done. If your decent to them I imagine they will be decent to you.
Also, as I stated earlier I am a police officer. If anyone has questions about how mods are seen by cops feel free to ask. I was in traffic enforcement (motors) for two years and have written a ton of tickets for just about everything. I'll be upfront and honest in my answers.